It was only after the last time Paris hosted the Olympics that the Parc des Princes got a major makeover. Should Paris hold the 2024 Games, exactly 100 years after it last did, things will be different for what is now home to Paris St Germain (PSG).
Refurbished at 75m euros for Euro 2016, this football cathedral hosted five games of the finals and has been leased by the city to PSG for 30 years.
Paris, Budapest and Los Angeles are in the fray for the 2024 Games after Rome pulled out. A decision will be taken in Lima on September 13, 2017.
PSG’s home isn’t the only ready venue that is part of Paris’ pitch to get the Olympics back to the city of Pierre de Coubertin. The Roland Garros, less than a kilometre from Parc des Princes, and the Stad de France too would be used, said Lambis Konstantinidis, co-head of the Sport Department and head of Paralympic Intégration Paris 2024 bid. Konstantinidis and Paris 2024 senior media officer Raphael Leclerc met a group of journalists from Asia here.
“We do not many things to build. We will host delegates from international federations over the next few weeks and they can touch and feel the venues,” said Konstantinidis.
What Paris would need to build is a Games Village and an aquatic centre. The cost of building and upgrading facilities: 3 billion euros which will be borne equally by business houses and the government, said Konstantinidis.
Konstantinidis, who has worked on summer and winter Olympics from 2002, also said a number of venues would be an extended walk for spectators. Basketball, fencing, beach volleyball, archery, volleyball will be on either side of the Seine and the stadium for the 1924 Olympics, Stade Yves du Manoir, would be used for field hockey, said Leclerc.
Parc des Princes will be one of the nine venues for football and Roland Garros for tennis and both can be easily accessed by the Metro. “We don’t need to build an Olympic Park, the city of Paris will be the Olympic Park,” said Konstantinidis.
Perhaps because they won’t leave a legacy of white elephants or maybe because they haven’t hosted a Games in nearly a century, having had failed bids in 1992, 2008 and 2012, 80% Parisians and politicians across party lines support the 2024 bid, said Konstantinidis. They will be hoping the decision makers at think that Paris, as they say in the commentary during a cruise on the Seine, is a city not just worth discovering but rediscovering as well.
The writer is in Paris on invitation from PSG.